Mapping Ancient Africa: INQUA congress support

October 4, 2022
WDG

The Mapping Ancient Africa (MAA) project is offering five bursaries to help African based and/or early career researchers^ attend the up coming INQUA Rome congress. Each bursary will around Euro 1000 and should be used towards covering the cost of registration, accommodation and/or travel for the congress.

Application criteria:

  • Abstract submitted to INQUA Rome congress either to the Mapping Ancient Africa session, or to another session on a related topic (Deadline 1 November 2022).
  • Commitment to contributing an article for consideration to be published in the proposed MAA special issue of Quaternary International; for frame of references of the MAA project click here.

To apply submit the following information via emails to William Gosling as the corresponding Principle Investigator of the project. Applications should be clearly marked MAA-Application-YourName in the subject line:

  • Evidence of submission of an abstract to the INQUA Rome congress (copy of confirmation email and abstract).
  • Letter of motivation, including fit of the proposed article to the MAA aims and goals and statement of commitment to submit an article for consideration to be published in the Mapping Ancient Africa special issue of Quaternary International^^ (not more than 1 page)
  • Short academic CV, including highlight of up to 5 published articles indicating the scientific importance and your role in the publication (not more than 2 pages).

In the event of more applications being received than funding is available awards will be made by the MAA team (PIs and co-PIs) on the basis of the fit of the research to the MAA aims and goals. To receive funding receipts for all the expenses incurred will need to be provided (following INQUA regulations).

Deadline for application: 7 November 2022

Announcement of funding: 14 November 2022

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^ following definition for Early Career Researchers (ECR) or Developing Country Researchers (DCR) provided by INQUA.

^^ please note that no guarantee of final publication is given or implied by this commitment. All submitted manuscripts will be subject to the usual rigorous peer review procedures for the journal.

Mapping Ancient Africa: Seminar 6 (take 2)

September 30, 2022
WDG

Following the postponement of our previous seminar I am pleased to announce the next Mapping Ancient Africa (MAA) seminar (the new number 6 in the series) will take place on Thursday 6 October at 17:00 (CEST).

  • Speaker: Verena Foerster (Universität zu Köln)
  • Title: Pleistocene climate variability in eastern Africa influenced hominin evolution
  • Related publication: Foerster, V., Asrat, A., Bronk Ramsey, C., Brown, E.T., Chapot, M.S., Deino, A., Duesing, W., Grove, M., Hahn, A., Junginger, A., Kaboth-Bahr, S., Lane, C.S., Opitz, S., Noren, A., Roberts, H.M., Stockhecke, M., Tiedemann, R., Vidal, C.M., Vogelsang, R., Cohen, A.S., Lamb, H.F., Schaebitz, F. & Trauth, M.H. (2022) Pleistocene climate variability in eastern Africa influenced hominin evolution. Nature Geoscience. DOI: 10.1038/s41561-022-01032-y

The seminar will be delivered via Zoom. The link for the seminar can be obtained from the MAA Slack channel or by contacting the chair of this seminar Stefanie Kaboth-Bahr. If you want to know more about the Mapping Ancient Africa project visit our web pages and please do not hesitate to get in contact if you want to get involved.

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Palaeoecology course 2022 goes archaeology…

September 16, 2022
WDG

As part of this years BSc Palaeoecology course at the University of Amsterdam we visited the Department of Archaeology. Organised by Anja Fischer we visited the human bone collection, the animal bone collection and the archaeobotany section. Amazing collections and lots of opportunities for cross faculty projects and teaching.

In addition to explaining the physical reference collections Anja also explained how she has been developing data mining techniques to allow information to be synthesised from the thousands of archaeological reports across the Netherlands.

She used this approach to make new discoveries about the role of urban farming and ruralisation in Dutch history. Her findings formed a report for the Dutch national heritage organisation (Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed) which can be downloaded for free (in English).

Fischer, A., van Londen, H., Blonk, A., Visser, R.M. & Renes, J. (2021) Urban Farming and Ruralisation in The Netherlands (1250-1850): Unravelling farming practice and the use of (open) space by synthesising archaeological reports using text mining. Nederlandse Archeologische Rapporten 68. Download free here.

Palaeoecology course UvA 2022

September 15, 2022
WDG

The University of Amsterdam (UvA) palaeoecology course is underway. The course is part of the BSc Biology program and the “Earth & Ecology” minor of the BSc Future Planet Studies.

Week 1 (last week) we got everyone up to speed with the fundamentals of palaeoecology (including: key principles, depositional environments, dating methods) and laboratory skills (pollen, phytolith and macrofossil identification). This week (week 2) we are out and about (coring sediments, surveying vegetation and visiting the archaeology department). By the end of the week the students will (should!?) have generated sufficient data in the laboratory and field to be able to identify the location from which their mini-project “mystery slides” were taken. Next week (week 3) will be number crunching to generate the statistical support for their ideas and inferences.

Students collecting sediments using a Russian corer at Langenboom (September, 2022). These samples were recovered in collaboration with the BosGroep Zuid Nederland as part of an ongoing project to gain new insights into the nature of the past landscape in the Netherlands and aid conservation efforts.

Characterising Dutch forests, wetlands and cultivated lands on the basis of phytolith assemblages

September 13, 2022
WDG

Open access:

de Wolf, I.K., McMichael, C.N.H., Philip, A.L. & Gosling, W.D. (2022) Characterising Dutch forests, wetlands and cultivated lands on the basis of phytolith assemblages. Netherlands Journal of Geosciences 101, e17. DOI: 10.1017/njg.2022.14

This paper started off as a research thesis undertaken by Iris de Wolf at the University of Amsterdam as part of her BSc Biology degree in 2018. The project was supervised by Crystal McMichael and William Gosling and has subsequently been further developed. If you are student or researcher interested in undertaking a similar type of projects please get in touch.

Listen to Iris’s journal podcast speaking about the subject here.

Job: PhD Caribbean Palaeoecology

September 9, 2022
WDG

The Palaeoecology Research Group within the Department of Archaeology at the Max Planck Institute for Geoanthropology, Jena, Germany is pleased to announce a new vacancy for a doctoral student exploring human-environment interactions in the Caribbean. The position will be based in Jena, Germany for a period of 3 years with the option for extensions and supervised by Dr. Yoshi Maezumi.

The Palaeoecology Research Group analyses palaeoecological and archaeobotanical proxies from sedimentary archives, including pollen, phytoliths, charcoal and stable isotopes to examine topics including the legacy of human land-use on ecosystems, spatio-temporal patterns of natural and human-driven fire activity, and the influence of natural and human disturbance regimes on the biogeographic distribution of plants and animals in past ecosystems.

Closing date: 30 September 2022

For full details and how to apply click here.

For further information contact Dr. Yoshi Maezumi.

The legacy of 1300 years of land use in Jamaica

July 9, 2022
WDG

Open access:

Elliott, S., Maezumi, S.Y., Robinson, M., Burn, M., Gosling, W.D., Mickleburgh, H.L., Walters, S. & Beier, Z.J.M. (2022) The legacy of 1300 years of land use in Jamaica. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology. DOI: 10.1080/15564894.2022.2078448

Mapping Ancient Africa: Seminar 6

June 8, 2022
WDG

The sixth online Mapping Ancient Africa seminar will take place on Tuesday 21 June at 17:00 CEST

The seminar will be delivered via Zoom. The link for the seminar can be obtained from the MAA Slack page, or from seminar chair and chaired by Lynne Quick.

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Mapping Ancient Africa: Video of Seminar 5

April 12, 2022
WDG

The fifth Mapping Ancient African project took place on Monday 11 April 2022 and focused on the African Pollen Database and past vegetation change in Africa.

The seminar was delivered by Sarah Ivory (Penn State University), Rahab Kinyanjui (National Museums of Kenya), and Lynne Quick (Nelson Mandela University). The seminar covers the principles behind and the working of the African Pollen Database (why make data openly available?) and the latest advances in eastern and southern Africa.

For more about the African Pollen Database check out:

You can watch the seminar now on the Ecology of the Past YouTube channel. Seminar details can be found here.

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